It has all your favourite things! Adventure, maps… and a sad ending.

The-Girl-of-Ink-and-Stars-by-Kiran-Millwood-HargraveTitle: The Girl of Ink and Stars
Author: Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Interest Level: Year 7 +

They say the day the Governor arrived, so did the ravens. And the songbirds, in their despair, flew backwards into the sea. That’s why there are no songbirds on Joya.

Isabella loves stories and her father, an explorer and renowned cartographer, is a master storyteller. But since the Governor arrived on their island, there has been no need for map making – exploration is forbidden and no one is allowed to leave the island.

When her best friend Lupe, the Governor’s daughter, goes missing – Isabella is determined to help find her. Armed with only ink, parchment, her knowledge of the stars and the stories of her father, Isabella joins the search party to navigate the island’s forgotten territories. But the monsters in her father’s stories are more real than she could have imagined, Isabella must face her fears to find her friend. The vivid descriptions and stunning rendering of the book itself will draw you into this beautiful tale of courage and wonder. The debut novel of Kiran Millwood Hargrave showcases her flair for poetry and love of short stories, embedded within this fantasy tale.

Highly recommended: **** (ofr)

 

 

Action packed adventure with links to Percy Jackson

heroes-of-olympus-the-lost-heroTITLE = HEROES OF OLYMPUS: The Lost Hero (Book 1)

AUTHOR = RICK RIORDAN

GENRE = ADVENTURE, FAMILY, ANCIENT ROME, ANCIENT GREECE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 – 9

Another great adventure with ties to Ancient Myths and Legends, from the very popular author of the “Percy Jackson” series. This is the first book in what could be considered a spin-off from the original series. AT the beginning we meet 3 new characters (Jason, Piper and Leo) who are suddenly propelled into a battle with mythic beings from which they barely escape with their lives before finding refuge at Camp Half-Blood. Jason discovers that all his memories have been stolen by a god, as a lure to sending him on a dangerous quest. And so the 3 teens set off together to try and save a goddess and maybe the world. Whilst Jason is struggling with his lack of memory Leo and Piper are tsruddling weith memories thaht they would prefer to forget. Each of them is harbouring a secret, afraid that if they reveal the truth it could spell the end of their friendship.

With death hovering at the edge of every adventure, this is a compelling and fast-paced story, as could be expected from Rick Riordan. Fans of the original series are sure to enjoy this excursion into territory which is both familiar yet slightly different. Rather than being focussed on the Greek gods (as happened in the Percy Jackson series) this book looks at the comparison between the Greek and Roman myths.  

You don’t need to have read a Percy Jackson story to enjoy this new series … and don’t worry if you are unfamiliar with Ancient Roman mythology, Rick Riordan will take you on an exciting and whirlwind introduction to some very famous myths and characters. These being may now be residing in Canada and the USA but with clever (and often humorous) echoes with their Ancient past. A truly entertaining read which is sure to be enjoyed by boys and girls alike.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

Sleeping beauty wakes up in 2128

when we wake coverTITLE = WHEN WE WAKE

AUTHOR = KAREN HEALEY

GENRE = SCIENCE FICTION

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8, 9

Tegan Oglietti is having the best day of her life, in Melbourne, in 2027, a few years in our future. But the next thing she knows, she wakes up in a hospital – in 2128, having been asleep for over 100 years. She is the first patient who has ever woken up from stasis, and immediately becomes a celebrity, followed at the supermarket and at school. She manages to make some friends (and introduce her music class to the Beatles) but as she discovers more about the world she has woken in, she finds out that not all the changes between the Melbourne she grew up in and this new Melbourne are good, or for good reasons.

This adventure shows us what our future might be; how our decisions can change the world, even if we are sixteen year old girls who have been asleep for a century.

The author, Karen Healey, is from New Zealand but lived in Melbourne for a few years. On her website she has some extras for When We Wake: you can have a look at what the characters are wearing, listen to the book’s soundtrack, or read her essays on the Sleeping Beauty archetype that inspired the story!

This book has been Longlisted for the 2014 Silver Inky awards.

Highly recommended (emc) *****

An unusual and amusing tale of adventure, myth and mayhem

houndedTITLE = THE IRON DRUID CHRONICLES #1: Hounded

AUTHOR = KEVIN HEARNE

GENRE = FANTASY, HUMOUR, MYTHS & LEGENDS

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 10 – 12

 Atticus O’Sullivan is the last of the Druids. He runs an occult bookshop in Arizona and is happily minding his own business when life is turned upside down for him. Atticus has in his possession a famous sword (Fragarach – the Answerer) but the Celtic god who previously owned this sword wants it back and will use any means to achieve this end. Atticus has always been careful (some would say he is paranoid about safety) but it seems even harder than usual for him to know who to trust – are the local witches on his side? Will his werewolf friends help out? Will the local cops believe him … and what of that pesky neighbour??

Perhaps the only one he can truly trust is his beloved wolfhound, Oberon with whom he communicates in thought ..

Life is certainly never boring for Atticus and readers will be cheering him on as he faces one danger after another. Action packed and very,  very funny – a most entertaining read with a new take on magic and the supernatural. Thankfully this is not a stand alone novel but the first in an engaging new series.

Highly Recommended (dma) ***** For more mature readers

A beautiful fairytale retelling

beautyTITLE = BEAUTY

AUTHOR = ROBIN McKINLEY

GENRE = FANTASY, FAIRY TALE, ROMANCE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 – 10

This is a much-loved rewriting of a much-lived fairytale: Beauty and the Beast. The story takes a fairly traditional approach: at the beginning, Beauty and her family are well off and happy but when her father’s fortunes are lost, the family must move to a small town near haunted woods.  Here the Beast is encountered and Beauty offers to go and live with him, to save her father’s life.

Beauty is a clever, kind and brave girl, more interested in books and studying than in the world of romance, especially if she is virtually a prisoner in the beast’s home. Can she can learn to like this beast… maybe even love him??

A gentle story beautifully told …  with plenty of ups and downs and a satisfying ending.

And if you enjoyed this story, why not read other versions of the Beauty & the Beast tale such as “Scarlet in the Snow” by Sophie Masson.

Recommended (dma) ****

When Mythic beasts visit modern day Perth .. mayhem ensues

TITLE = FIRE IN THE SEA

AUTHOR = MYKE BARTLETT

GENRE = MYTHS & LEGENDS, ADVENTURE, ROMANCE, GRIEF

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7-10

What happens when Ancient myths and legends come alive in modern day Perth? Thrilling action and plenty of mystery and adventure, that’s what happens!

For 16 yo Sadie Miller, the summer holidays are rolling along as usual – until she stops an attack on an old man at the beach, an attack from strange creatures that return to the sea. First the old man leaves her his home, then it seems like he has taken on the body of someone else.. someone who may be a killer .. but a very handsome one.  Is she letting her heart rule her head?

The more Sadie tries to remove herself from his influence, the more deeply she seems to become involved in this strange tale of betrayal and revenge, involving Gods and curses, and most deadly of all…a Minotaur! All the while the clock is steadily ticking down – will history repeat itself and another city be lost to the sea – this time, Sadie’s hometown of Perth?

Join in the fast paced action, the mystery and the romance of Myke Bartlett’s “Fire in the Sea” to find out how this exciting tale will end.

And why not check out the author’s blog where he has posted photos of some of the locations that are used in the novel.

Longlisted for the Golden Inky (2011)

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

A lyrical story from the selkie world

TITLE = SEA HEARTS

AUTHOR = MARGO LANAGAN

GENRE = FANTASY, FAMILY, COMMUNITY, RELATIONSHIPS

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 10+

What an extraordinary book!

This amazing book will entice readers into a foreign world of magic and mystery with a heart breaking tale of revenge and love. The lyrical language will lure readers into the story and delight them at the same time. Whilst the central story will capture their hearts.

The island of Rollrock seems to be at the mercy of the elements: such a windy, cold place which seems to demand hardiness from its inhabitants. Meanwhile the surrounding sea not only provides families with a livelihood but also provides them with mystery and wonder. The seals which lollop on the beach front may be scorned but their females (the selkies) seem to weave a charm on the hearts of the local men. Or is the spell woven by the local witch? Is it a spell of love or a curse of revenge? And most importantly, will it bring harm to the Rollrock community or can it be broken?

This story is cleverly woven from different perspectives of some of the key players on the island; their separate stories will gradually come together in a moving end. This is a book to be treasured and a book which readers will find hard to put down and even harder to forget.

This novel is a worthy selection on the shortlist for the 2013 CBCA Book of the Year (Older Readers).

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

When myths come alive

TITLE = CROW COUNTRY

AUTHOR =KATE CONSTABLE

GENRE = ABORIGNAL MYTHS & LEGENDS, SUPERNATURAL, TIME TRAVEL

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7, 8

This is an intriguing blend of fantasy, Aboriginal mythology and mystery. 13 year old Sadie is not happy that her Mum has relocated her from Melbourne to the small country town of Boort. But when she comes across an ancient ring of rocks at a nearby dried up lake, Sadie is awakened to the mystery lurking there. First she feels like the crows are talking to her, directing her to take action, to right a long-ago wrong. Then she begins to slip back in time to witness events which seem to have cursed her family and others ever since they happened.

For Sadie discovers that her grandfather, Clarry had two mates from the war: Gerry Mortlock, a local squatter, and Jimmy Raven, who worked on Gerry’s property after the war. Although Jimmy was not from the local Aboriginal tribe (he hailed from Melbourne) he still held great respect for the land and mythology surrounding the Boort region. Unfortunately, this brought him into conflict with Gerry and Clarry with tragic results.

And it seems that this tragic relationship has oft repeated itself. Sadie’s Mum, Ellie had once dated Gerry’s grandson, Craig until she left him for an aboriginal boy, David. The result was again brutal. And in Sadie’s own time, her friendship with Walter, an Aboriginal newcomer, comes between her new found friendship with Craig’s son, Lachie Mortlock and it looks set to end in violence yet again.

Can Sadie prevent disaster repeating itself? Will her new found kinship with the crows provide her with strength or act as a millstone around her neck.

This is an entertaining tale with its clever blending of crow mythology and time travel into a credible mystery-adventure. The characters are believable and the action and mystery moves along at a good pace.

Shortlisted for CBCA Book of the Year 2012 (Younger Readers)

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

 

 


The last stage of Tristan’s grail journey

orphan of destinyTITLE =THE ORPHAN OF DESTINY (Book 3: The Youngest Templar series)

AUTHOR =MICHAEL P. SPRADLIN

GENRE =ADVENTURE, ACTION, MYTHS & LEGENDS

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7-9

This is a fitting finale to a most enjoyable series. Tristan, Robard and Maryam are again thrust into high adventure as they attempt to take the grail to Rosslyn and avoid capture by Sir High and his troops. The Robin Hood legend comes to the fore as the three weary travellers are joined on their journey by Brother Tuck and Little John. And when they attempt a few days rest at Robard’s home, they are met by Allan Adaile and Will Scarlet, and discover that the Shire reeve is making life difficult for all those who live in Sherwood forest. Despite these entertaining forays into the Robin Hood legend, the focus of the story still remains Tristan’s journey: to discover the secret of his birth and to deliver the grail. SAn entertaining and action packed romp, which is sure to be enjoyed by all those who started the journey with “The Youngest Templar”. Read more about the author and the series here.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

WARNING:contains awesomeness

city-of-bonesCITY OF BONES

Author=Cassandra Clare

Genre=Fantasy-Romance

Interest-Young Adults-Adults

Angels,Demons,Vampires,Werewolves,Fairies,Warlocks,Nephilim.

If clubbing in New York you must be careful as it might be your last dance: monsters are on the prowl.

Clary Fray once thought she was human till she got a visit from a very arrogant, hot shadowhunter, Jace. Her life changed for the worst.With her mother in a coma, her only choice is to trust the shadow hunters as she might otherwise be killed by one of New York’s monsters.

Rating=***** Highly Recommended

JESSI